VILLEBOIS Shop in Shanghai has been discovered by Chausser Magazine

Article published in September 2013 by J-P. Bidegain 

VILLEBOIS from Charente Province (France) has its own shop in Shanghai

In a previous edition of 'Chausser Magazine' we talked about the development of little independent shops of footwear. Early September, I discovered a shop promoting Guaranteed French Origin shoes while walking in the traditional streets of Taking Road (Shanghai). 

At the point of sale you can find French slippers from FERRAND Company presented as luxurious imported products.

It is the proof that there is no need to be multinational company to export in China!


A new chapter in the book of ’Guaranteed French Origin’

They are manufacturing French products and want to make it known

Yesterday, eight companies from Charente Province were awarded with the ’Guaranteed French Origin’ label that is increasingly becoming an argument in making purchasing decisions. 


They produce shirts, porcelain or ballerina shoes and all have one point in commun: these SMEs are an attempt to manufacture French products and want to make it known by registering for the ’Guaranteed French Origin’ certification. This label was set up 4 years ago by 'Pro France', an association  established and chaired by the former Minister (UDI) Yves Jégo.

 A French product, what does it mean?

Yves Jégo came personally to the CCI of Vienne (France) to chair this Label Ceremony, where 8 of the 11 Label  holders from the Region were awarded. At the time when, in some cercles, the prospect of purchasing French products may be a matter of sneering, Pro France has decided to demonstrate that French products could be defined.

After the study of their records, they ensure that labelled Products are entirely manufactured in France and 50 % of the unit value is of France origin at least. This Award Ceremony was preceded by an information session of local manufacturers that may potentially be interested in obtaining this certification but, in some cases, are afraid with the constraints from a such procedure.

’In the World we are living in, 100 % French is only an illusion’  does explain Yves Jégo. ’  but we have moved from the Century of brands to the Century of origins.’

The products that were labelized yesterday were as follows: Axitec (lifting beams) in Niort, Chemises C2S in Courlay, planchas ENO in Niort, Sovileg lambs in Thouars, Deshoulières porcelains in Chauvigny, SERI (urban furniture) in Châtellerault, Véloscoot electric bike in Saint-Georges-les-Baillargeaux ; Ferrand slippers in Villebois-Lavalette (Charente), Magencia in Bressuire, Heuliez-Bus in Rorthais and Atilac in La Crèche.

Read this article from Vincent Buche on the website of the ”La Nouvelle Republique


Villebois Ballerinas on France 3 TV

Succes of Villebois Ballerinas in China

Luxury, comfortable leather ballerinas in sparkling colors by Villebois are now for sale also in China, where  the first shop of the brand was opened (Shanghai).



Ferrand SAS produces its slippers in the "Charente" Province. Today this specialization accounts to a two third of business volume, but the Company has decided to move its high quality and fashion ladyshoes into Chinese market and opened  its shop in Shanghai in 2012. These indoor and outdoor ballerinas are very popular among wealthy Chinese customers, attracted by their 100 % French made high-quality. A traditional know-how lead to the succes that allowed to the Company to develop and to recruite: in 2 years the number of employees has increased from 35 to 42.


Look at the video report realized by Jérôme  Deboeuf and Christophe Guinot

Read this article in full on the website of France 3 TV


Slippers from Villebois-Lavalette on the radio RMC

During two weeks the radio RMC undertakes, in partnership with the ’Guaranteed French Origin’ certification, to introduce companies manufacturing French products. That means high-quality, innovation, creativity in matter of stability of employment and relocation. Since the majority of French people consider that buying French made products is an act of good citizenship, the radio RMC invites you to discover these societies, that contribute to develop the French national economy.

Every morning, Jean-Jacques Bourdin honors companies for taking up the challenge of local production, supported, in particular, by the ’Guaranteed French Origin’ label.

This Mondaymorning, RMC met a slippers manufacturer, the Ferrand SAS in Villebois-Lavalette. 2 years ago the Company chose French production and thus got the ’Guaranteed French Origin’ label. 42 employees, mainly women, are making shoes that you put at the foot of your bed. 350,000 pairs are produced a year by the Company.

’It is a real advantage, it promotes us’

Isabelle (56 years old) works in Ferrand Company since 1984. She works on the flanging machine and sews the edges of slippers. For her, the ’Guaranteed French Origin’ label is a real source of pride: ’For us, as she explains, it is a real advantage, it promotes us. That is to say that obtaining this label makes you feel appreciated, and it is pretty a good thing. That means that you do a good job. There should be more products manufactured in France, because that is how we are identified all around the World: French product means good product. Furthermore, that gives us a job.’

’An increase in sales with this label’

Cyril Colombet is one of the 2 managers of the Company.  For him, no doubt, the ’Guaranteed French Origin’ certification means benefits for Ferrand SAS, even if he remains very cautious on the issue: ’Increases in sales of certain products have happened once the label was awarded and displayed on them. A lot of interest has been expressed. Then we have to put that in perspective, because 90 % of products are imported in this sector. So obviously, the certified part by the ’Guaranteed French Origin’ is pretty low. That is to say that for the moment, we do not have many colleagues being able to produce entirely in France.’


Employment, distribution, export

- 3 new hires in Ferrand SAS
- A pair of slippers from Ferrand is in the supermarket: namely in Carrefour, Leclerc, Monoprix.
- 13 euro on average per pair. For its export to China, Ferrand now has a store in Shanghai.

Read this article ont he official website of the radio RMC


Ballerinas by Villebois have attracted China

Since the opening of its shop in Shanghai, Ballerinas by Villebois have been making a name for themselves. This French brand has drawn both costumers' and professionals' attention and reaches the headlines of the biggest fashion magazines.

Madame Figaro Avril 2013

Independent brand and French made

A French fashion breeze and Luxury Brand is opening Chinese door



In 2012, Ferrand Company decided to move their high fashion indoor ladyshoes into Chinese market. These articles are particularly comfortable and fashion, suit for both indoor and outdoor. It is delivered into a very cute small cotton bag, can be a very good company for those who travel. Villebois ballerinas are developed and produced in Villebois-Lavalette, France, 100% French made! Now, the first shop is opened in Shanghai Tianzifang. This new brand's fresh breeze is blowing on Shanghai.

ELLE Online Avril 2013



In the past, ballerinas were considered as elegant items reserved for ballet dancers. Nowadays they became popular among modern women who seek fashion items. Ballerinas are not classical fashion items made of satin or silk anymore. Look at the ballerina collection of the French brand VILLEBOIS : the stereotyped items from the past are completely reversed. They are now colorful and made of various materials which make each pair unique. Moreover the ballerinas VILLEBOIS are 100% made in France, in the truly fine tradition of French refinement and elegance.

The Fashion Shop Mai 2013


The brand VILLEBOIS belongs to the Ferrand Company founded in 1979 in the historical village of Villebois-Lavalette in the South-West of France. This French company has its own craftsmanship. All articles are hand-made. In 2012 the company decided to introduce its brand to the Chinese market. These luxury ballerinas are suitable both for indoor and outdoor use, at home or in the office. These elegant and comfortable ballerinas are made 100% in France.


From the classroom to the factory, it takes just a few steps


After 6 months of professionalization contract,  Élodie Perroux signed open-ended employment contract in March 2013. PHOTO/Photos S. C.


"Our goal is to attract more and younger qualified membres and to carrout recruitment in an effective and sustainable way. That means investment for us. We have also introduced a special tutorage system, tmake them feel safe and comfortable on different machines".

Pierre Rebeyrole et Cyril Colombet, directors of Ferrand Company, recruited this year 3 former students in Bac Pro Fashion. They intend to continue this volunteer approach as stimulated by the circumstances. The number of employees has increased from 35 to 42 since they took the firm over in 2011.

This year net sales have risen by 15 % to reach 2.3 million Euro in the end of March. Their actual breakthrough in China, where the Villebois Shop was opened in Shanghai, is promising. The partnership they developed with the Professional Fashion High School consists in employing trainees throughout the school year.

Survival means luxury and innovation

Right now, companies that relied on luxury products, innovation and export are doinbetter and better. 'If we had followed the same logic as the Chinese, we would have met disaster', does explain Jacky Guillien, General Director of the Departmental Bureau of Development. Paradoxically, this is the Chinese market that is opening up new prospects for us. 'A huge market, as the main worldwide luxury goods market' says M. Rebeyrole.

Read this article in full in the local newspaper 'Charente Libre'


Ballerinas by Villebois get in to China

It was the very fisrt time that this French Company participated to the Shanghai French Week. Its high quality 100 % French made ballerinas won everyone over.

Tests have been succesfully concluded for Ferrand SAS. A few hundred ballerinas sold during this exhibiton have boosted the young directors. 'Full,power. We are going to move up to a higher model in the range in order to supply this market. Shanghai, it is just the beginning. Then Beijing and Canton. There is an incredible keen interest in 100 % French Made products. That is, after all, the raison we took the Ferrand Company over' highlights Pierre Rebeyrole. 'We have technical  skills and know-how. We keep improving, while focusing also on individual learning' does explain Cyril Colombet.

A Project Manager in Shanghai

In order to succeed in China, Directors have appointed a project manager (33 years old) in Shanghai. They have also recruited 3 young women in the factory, in Villebois-Lavalette, France. One of them, Elodie Perroux (18 years old) former student in "Bac Pro" Fashion, is the youngest member of the team: 'Working for the Chines market makes me happy, it's exciting. I have already learned a lot since I arrived there and I'll keep on making progress. I like a lot the touche materials, as making shoes.' For Marie-Christine Albert (54), one of the oldest worker, China 'is a great opportunity, as competition is extremely hard' in France.'

And it is not over. Directors' goal is to realise 50 % of net sales (2.2 million Euro) with the premium category products, five times more than actually. Nowadays main customers are essentially the high-volume stores with the cheaper products. The other way of development is the web ( and where "Rock" ballerinas are for sale and they have been making a name for themselves. 'There is still a long way to go, but the slope has moved over in the right direction' claims M. Rebeyrole. A such a stronfaith iable to pass on to the others. 

Read this article in full in the local newspaper 'Charente Libre'

Our shop in Shanghai



A collaborative management

Since their arrival at the helm of Ferrand SAS in July 2011, Pierre Rebeyrole and Cyril Colombet have been keen to enforce the management methods. 

Thus they set up the 'Webschool' within the Company in order to train its entire staff to use computers, social networks and online sales. 


 'Thanks to this effort, today 19 persons, that had never used computer before, are experts in computing' says Pierre Rebeyrole, managing partner of the Company.


On November 2012, the 20th, they were awarded with the 'Trophy of Management Action' from MEDEF (French Entrepreneurs Unios) and Figaro (French newspaper of great repute).


Here is the award ceremonie (from the 12th minute)



Here is the video of the Ferrand Company


Launch of 'Rock' Ballerinas by Villebois

'Rock' ballerinas are available exclusively online. Some twenty models, lovely and comfortable. One year after their arrival to Ferrand SAS, Pierre Rebeyrole and Cyrile Colombet launched their 'little baby' in its historical cradle in Villebois, France. New type of footwear means new way of distribution as well.

With this niche, the young managers do attempt to reach foreign customers, as particularly sensible to high-quality  products. They propose a mix of historical konw-how and and modern information technologies. They are henceforth leaned on by «Guaranteed French Origin» certification, obtained last year. 'This means a frame of referance that is far more demanding than the self-declaration"Made in France". 89 % of the product value has to be French. The remainder is the materials we cannot find in France anymore', explains Pierre Rebeyrole. Obtaining this certification has boosted sales.



This trend appears to be confirmed by the online shops. 'We are going to allow auto-entrepreneurs to use our website []. They will receive 20 % on each pair sold. We hope that a thousand of affiliates will join us this year', tells Pierre Rebeyrole.

Read the article in full in the local newspaper 'Charente Libre'


Guaranteed French Origin

They had dreamed about, and they got it.

In October 2011 the Ferrand Company obtained the certification "Guaranteed French Origin" regarding all its  production.


Ferrand was the very first slipper manufacturer to obtain this certification.

  • A frame of referances more demanding than the self-declaration"Made in France".
  • A certification audited and granted from Bureau Veritas.
  • A growing reputation both in France and for export.
  • Famous French national brands in all sectors already certified: ATOL, ROSSIGNOL, FAGOR, HAÄGEN DASZ, KRONENBOURG, TOYOTA, PEUGEOT...


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